Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Wrapping up a few bookish gift suggestions for Novemeber & December

I know that Halloween is just around the corner but before you know it, the holiday season will be fully upon us and the pressure to find the right presents for your loved ones comes along with it.

With that in mind, I have a list of six upcoming novels that should make suitable gifts for friends and family, not to mention some good reading for yourself there.

 After all, you're on somebody's shopping list,too-so make it easier for them with one or two of these November and December releases:

FUTURE HOME OF THE LIVING GOD: Louise Erdrich's latest novel takes a quantum leap in genre as she envisions a future world that is literally going backwards. With plants and animals from the prehistoric age turning up,along with vicious new viruses, society is in panic mode and a new religious order has taken over the government.

Due to the lack of successful births, pregnant women are being rounded up for observation,which puts Cedar, who is 26 years old with proof that her baby on the way may be in perfect condition, in serious jeopardy.

Going on the run, her options are to reunite with her Native American birth family for passage to Canada, hide out with the baby's father Phil or trust in her adoptive parents who have disappeared without a trace. As Cedar keeps a journal for her unborn child, she considers those choices and hopes that she has enough wisdom and courage to make the right ones for both of them.

While this is new storytelling territory for Erdrich, her foundation of solid writing and character development should make this book a true wonder to explore(November):

 THE RUINED HOUSE: Ruby Namdar's debut novel is set in New York, where celebrated academic Andrew Cohen seems to have it all. His career as a professor of comparative culture is thriving, his new girlfriend Ann is young and lively, Linda,his ex-wife, is on good terms with him and even their adult children have deep love and respect for their father.

Andrew is up for a major promotion as well, making him feel on top of the world. Yet, a series of strange visions,based upon an ancient ritual, cause his rather comfortable life to be tossed into turmoil. As his fortunes reverse, Andrew has to take a deeper look into himself and reconsider the path he's taken in life to see where his ultimate fate is supposed to be.

This book is making it's American debut in translation and back in 2014, won Israel's top literary award, the Sapir. It sounds like a blend of midlife crisis with mysticism, which could be an interesting recipe for a good read indeed(November).

THE REVOLUTION OF MARINA M: In 1916, sixteen year old Marina is a budding poet and daughter of a well-to-do family in Russian society. Drawn into the changes all around her, she joins in with her outsider friends to make Russia better for everyone,causing her father to ban Marina from his doorstep.

However, her faith in the revolution is severely tested as WWI begins, along with the rise of the new regime that becomes just as harsh as the one under the deposed czar was. Marina finds herself resorting to all sorts of ruses and risks to protect herself and her friends,not to mention beloved fellow poet Kolya.

Author Janet Fitch is best known for contemporary novels such as White Oleander and this is her first foray into historical fiction. Given her earlier work, this look at such a pivotal moment in time through the eyes of a resilient young woman should play like a heartfelt melody(November):

 THE LADIES OF IVY COTTAGE: The second book in Julie Klassen's  Tales from Ivy Hill series,set in the Regency era, focuses on Rachel Ashford, who must now make her way in the world with only the massive collection of books she inherited from her father.

Using those books to set up a subscription library sounds like a wonderful idea and as Rachel begins to arrange the numerous tomes on hand, she stumbles across a mystery that may require some special assistance.

Meanwhile, her good friend Mercy,whom she shares a home with, is convinced that the new male visitors to their cottage are much more interested in Rachel than her yet the true reasons for such attentions are yet to be revealed. Klassen loves to weave tender tales of homespun charm with smart ladies at the helm and this new chapter in her Ivy Hill stories will be a welcome one indeed(December).

 ENCHANTRESS OF NUMBERS:Jennifer Chiaverini's recent set of historical fiction works now has lead her to showcase Ada Lovelace, who is considered by many modern day scholars to be the first computer programmer.

Unlike other young women of her time, Ada was encouraged to study mathematics(mainly to avoid following in her poetic father Lord Byron's footsteps) and even upon her debut in society, found a man who appreciated her vast intelligence.

Charles Babbage didn't become her husband and instead their friendship developed into a working relationship in his pursuit of a calculation machine that would change the world. Ada's admiration of Babbage,however, was not a two way street as she eventually discovered to her sorrow. Yet her work lives on and this engaging novel gives Ada Lovelace the full vivid portrait of a scientific genius that she deserves(December):

 ELMET: A Man Booker nominee, this debut novel tells the tale of Daniel, who goes to live with his sister Cathy and their father John in a remote section of Yorkshire. The three of them live in their own little world,content for the most part but not without some struggles.

Those struggles get worse as the landowner arrives, demanding that they leave the property. This leads to John, who mainly makes a living as a fighter, to resort to drastic measures that appear to be Robin Hood like in nature at first. Yet, as things go on, Daniel realizes that this battle may not be won to anyone's liking there.

The author of this book,Fiona Mozley, was pleased enough that her first time work made it as far as the short list for the Man Booker and hopefully, the good word of mouth that her story of a family finding it's way out of a rock and a hard place situation will please her as well(December):

Gift giving should be a fun thing to look forward to and while your intended recipients may not want a book(or anything other than a gift card), there is always a good place to find the right suggestions.

My first choice is a book store,of course, but thinking of others is the important part of this tradition and not even the smartest digital assistant is no substitute for that special touch of thoughtfulness,no matter how charmingly competent she appears to be,Janet!:

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